The anger in New Orleans

May 28, 2010

Radio host Garland Robinette rips everyone outside Louisiana for the what’s befallen his state:

Can’t say I blame him.


It won’t die… IT WON’T DIE!!!

May 28, 2010

The Obama White House must be going nuts trying to get past the story of whether it offered a bribe to Congressman Joe Sestak a bribe to cede the Pennsylvania Democratic primary to Senator Arlen Specter. It just won’t go away. After months of saying nothing untoward occurred and that no offer was made, while Sestak insisted one had been made, the administration finally got its lies straight admitted that, yes, there was some discussion of a job – an unpaid advisory position. The kicker? The intermediary was former President Bill Clinton:

President Obama’s chief of staff used former President Bill Clinton as an intermediary to see if Representative Joe Sestak would drop out of Pennsylvania’s Democratic Senate primary if given a prominent, but unpaid, advisory position, the White House said on Friday.

Rahm Emanuel, the chief of staff, asked Mr. Clinton last summer to explore “options of service” on a presidential or senior government advisory board with Mr. Sestak, the White House said in a statement. Mr. Sestak said no and went on to win last week’s primary against Senator Arlen Specter.

The White House disputed Republican claims that the conversations might be illegal or improper. “There was no such impropriety,” Robert F. Bauer, the White House counsel, said in a memo released to reporters. “The Democratic Party leadership had a legitimate interest in averting a divisive primary fight and a similarly legitimate concern about the congressman vacating his seat in the House.”

Mr. Bauer went on to say that such horse-trading has been commonplace through history. “There have been numerous, reported instances in the past when prior administrations – both Democratic and Republican, and motivated by the same goals – discussed alternative paths to service for qualified individuals also considering campaigns for public office,” he wrote. “Such discussions are fully consistent with the relevant law and ethical requirements.”

You know what? I agree with Bauer. This kind of thing has gone on as long as the Republic itself and, as I understand the law, talking over options and considering an unremunerated position doesn’t cross the legal red line.

If that’s what happened, and that’s a big “if.”

Consider: the day before this news comes out, Obama and Clinton had lunch together. On that same day, Sestak’s brother, who’s also his campaign manager, talked with White House officials about the bubbling controversy. It could be all on the up and up, in fact it probably (barely) is. But, toss in the pot an administration steeped in the Chicago Way of politics, an ex-President with a flexible sense of ethics, and a candidate who’s sorry he ever opened his mouth and really wants help winning his race, stir all that together, and you get…  Something that smells.

After all, if the truth was so anodyne, why’d it take so long to come with this stupid lie explanation? Experienced politicos aren’t buying it:

“I don’t believe that.  That may be what they’re concocting as a cover story.  But the idea that…Sestak is an Admiral in the Navy.  This is a smart, competent professional.  The idea that he misunderstood a free, unpaid job for the offer of Secretary of the Navy.  I mean, don’t you find that sort of boggles your mind?”

Not that Newt Gingrich would be biased or anything ( Rolling on the floor ), but I think he has a point.

And, just as Team Obama hopes this will all go away, Bill tosses red meat in front of reporters and bloggers by refusing to comment about the official explanation.

It may be that the Obama and Sestak camps are now telling the truth. It could be that White House Counsel Bauer is right that there’s smoke, but no fire. Yet something still smells here.

And I bet we’ll find out what before election day.

POSTSCRIPT: Congressman Darrell Issa (R-CA) has been bulldogging this issue admirably since it first came up, but now he’s crossing the line into Dumb Land by bringing up the “I-word:” impeachment. Darrell, dude. Sit down and relax. Breathe deeply. Calm down. Remember the last time the Republicans went for impeachment? It took years to recover from that self-inflicted embarrassment, even though Bill really was guilty on at least one charge. To go for it again would be to take a shotgun to the party’s one remaining foot. The public is worried about jobs, the economy, crazed jihadis, and oil slicks, and won’t have any patience with us trying to force Obama from office before 2012. We’re trying to prove we’re responsible enough to be trusted with government and not a bunch of frothing putschists, remember? If it gets bad, he’ll just throw Rahm under the bus and that will be the end of it.

Besides, you do recall who’s next in line, don’t you??

RELATED: A Colorado candidate for a Senate seat says he got a job offer, too.

LINKS: At Ace’s, SorenKay votes for the coordinated lies theory. Sister Toldjah asks for a show of hands from anyone who believes this story.

Friday afternoon chuckles

May 28, 2010

The latest NewsBusted, starring Jodi Miller:

Making fudge, EU-style

May 28, 2010

Here’s another video from the TaxPayer’s Alliance, this one explaining how the European Union’s agricultural policies leave Britons paying £398/$575 more than they should for their groceries. Maybe it’s because I like to cook and I’m a Jamie Oliver fan, but I think it’s effective – and it made me laugh:

More seriously, the trade barriers set up against agricultural goods from outside the EU is a real scandal: they preach sanctimoniously about “helping the Third World,” yet they block African goods from their markets, denying farmers there a chance to make good money and lift themselves from poverty, all to support a highly subsidized EU farm sector.

And, yeah, I support getting rid of agricultural subsidies and tariffs here, too. They’re mostly welfare for the big agribusiness farms.

Working for the tax man, UK edition

May 28, 2010

The British TaxPayer’s Alliance has posted a good video illustrating how long a typical UK resident has to work during the average day before starting to earn money for himself. It may not be America, but, pay attention; Obama and his allies want to put us on the same path.

(via Dan Mitchell)

Obama’s Katrina? Oh, yeah.

May 28, 2010

It’s already become a cliche to say that the Deepwater Horizon oil spill has become President Obama’s “Katrina,” a reference to the political harm done to George W. Bush over a perception of fecklessness, indifference, and incompetence in response to the 2005 hurricane that struck New Orleans. In Bush’s case, while some of the criticism was deserved (Brown’s appointment at FEMA, for example), the 1988 Stafford Act (PDF), section 401, made clear that the initial responsibility for disaster response laid with local and state authorities, who had to execute their plans before invoking Federal aid. Mayor Nagin and Governor Blanco failed at this. But, thanks to Democratic demagoguery and a hysterical press, all blame was dumped on Washington. Fair or not, that was the political reality.

In the current disaster, however, all the blame now finally starting to be hurled at the Obama administration is merited. For this type of disaster, the 1990 Oil Pollution Act makes the Federal government the lead agency:

Many believe that there were lost opportunities in the immediate aftermath of the Exxon Valdez spill to help contain the damage. For example, the oil sat around the grounded tanker off the Alaskan coast for several days before it was blown toward coastal areas and caused onshore environmental damage. But conflicting state and federal actions stymied the cleanup efforts and slowed the initial response to the spill.

Congress concluded that the existing response protocol was poorly coordinated. One of the goals of the Oil Pollution Act was to clarify the lines of authority in the immediate aftermath of a spill so that the response can be swift and effective. The statute also beefed up preparedness measures in anticipation of spills and created a liability scheme for the government’s cleanup costs and to injured third parties for damages.

The act authorizes the President to either federalize the spill or oversee the cleanup efforts of the responsible private party or parties. Spills in coastal waters are handled by the Coast Guard, while the Environmental Protection Agency handles inland spills. In the case of Deepwater Horizon, the President delegated authority to the Coast Guard, which in turn coordinates efforts with other federal agencies and state officials as well as BP and other private parties. The Coast Guard has at its disposal the resources to address spills.

More than a month into the disaster, the administration’s feckless, indifferent, and incompetent response to a problem over which it has clear statutory authority has caused it to be hammered in public opinion and even the media, the latter of which normally fawns over anything “Obama.”

And the administration’s opponents are taking advantage of this. Via Ed Morrissey, this web ad from the NRSC slamming Obama over his handling of the oil spill is devastating, especially when it quotes leading Democrats and the President’s own words:

(And I never, ever thought I’d find myself sympathizing with James Carville.)

So, to answer the initial question of whether this is “Obama’s Katrina,” I’d have to say a qualified “yes.” Yes, because it’s a disaster feeding a perception of incompetence that’s starting to cost him politically, even though the press is only belatedly starting to take him to task. Qualified, because we don’t know yet if this will cause a permanent negative change in public perception, as Katrina did for President Bush.

RELATED: Former Governor Sarah Palin, who was intimately involved with the beginning and end of the Exxon Valdez oil spill in Alaska, breaks out the industrial nightstick on Obama:

Nearly 40 days in, our President finally addressed the American people’s growing concerns about the Gulf Coast oil spill. Listening to today’s press conference, you’d think the administration has been working with single-minded focus on the Gulf gusher since the start of the disaster. In reality, their focus has been anything but singular to help solve this monumental problem.

If the President really was fully focused on this issue from day one, why did it take nine whole days before the administration asked the Department of Defense for help in deploying equipment needed for the extreme depth spill site?

Why was the expert group assembled by Energy Commissioner Steven Chu only set up three weeks after the start of this disaster?

Why was Governor Jindal forced more than a month after the start of the disaster to go on national television to beg for materials needed to tackle the oil spill and for federal approval to build offshore sand barriers that are imperative to protect his state’s coastline?

Why was no mention of the spill made by our President for days on end while Americans waited to hear if he grasped the import of his leadership on this energy issue?


Read the whole thing. If Sarah Palin has one undoubted area of expertise, it’s in the oversight of natural resource development and regulation, and in dealing with oil companies. Her experience here dwarfs that of the President and his top cabinet officials. While false pride would keep him from ever giving her a spotlight that would inevitably shine badly on him, he could go a long way to getting this under control by making her the “Oil Clean-up Czarina.”